It is apparent that the launch of the most advanced imaging satellite is about to happen. GeoEye 1 is set to launch on September 4th 2008, promising to change the way satellite images are often delivered. No commercial imaging satellite is more powerful than the GeoEye. It is able to deliver some jaw dropping feats of satellite photography. GeoEye Incorporated Company itself is a pioneering company specializing in aerial and satellite photography.
The satellite is due to be launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California and the launch equipment and hardware have already undergone a flight readiness review. The 12 story United Launch Alliance Delta II, designed by the aeronautics giant Boeing is the launch vessel that will take the GeoEye1 to near polar orbit, releasing the satellite after approximately 58 minutes, then about 90 minutes after deployment ground control is expecting to begin systems calibrations.
General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems are the company that designed the GeoEye1, they are a leader in providing mission solutions for defence, intelligence, homeland security, surveillance and reconnaissance. The company offers services including designing and delivering 2 million lines of reliable software for nuclear combat systems, providing mission management systems, designing and building world-class special purpose computers, delivering key information sharing and analysis systems and developing breakthrough Synthetic Aperture Radar and imaging technologies.
Once in orbit the GeoEye1 will deliver satellite images from 423 miles in space and moving at a speed of around 4.1 miles per second. The satellite will orbit the earth an amazing 15 times per day whilst being able to recognise objects that are down to 16 inches in size. This would not be in full colour at highest resolution, as to get down to such a small size the images would need to be captured in panchromatic mode, which is a fancy name for black and white.
The satellite is the most powerful commercial imaging satellite because it has the capability to revisit any location on the planet every three days and at lower resolutions even sooner. These images are thought to be used for national defence and intelligence, state and local governments, environmental monitoring and land use management, oil and gas, utilities, disaster management and for insurance purposes.
One of the most high profile clients is thought to be Google who are planning to use these innovative satellite images to update their earth and maps applications. The technology is thought to revolutionise satellite imaging providing constant streams of new information making it more accurate and up to date.